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"A Breach of Promise" has long been one of my favorite Anne Perry stories. The thing that first drew me to her books is the interesting detail of daily life in Victorian England, especially including the depiction of the place of, and restrictions on, women in that day and age. They were truly chattels under the law, the property (like livestock) of their fathers and then their husbands, totally dependent upon the men in their life. When upper-class women married, their entire fortunes (if any) became the property of their husbands. They were not allowed to work or engage in any past time which might provide them with an income to live on, and their only chance of independence was to survive the death of their husbands with no other male available to inherit.
This book in particular takes a hard look at the prospects of an unmarried woman in that society. It has all the features which I enjoy in reading Anne Perry: well-rounded characters, both the leading characters (Monk, Hester, and Oliver Rathbone) and the secondary and incidental ones. There is also the obligatory trial that occurs in almost every William Monk story. And this book also has a surprise twist that leads to the ending; an ending that is smoother and not as jolting as some of Ms. Perry's "tacked on" climaxes. She also gives us a peek at Monk and Hester's future at the very end.
Although I still miss hearing Davina Porter's narrations of the Anne Perry books, I found Terrence Hardiman's reading to be quite good and better than David Colacci's efforts.
I do wish that all the books of the Pitt and Monk series were available from Audible so that I could listen to the entire series in order. But this book does very well standing alone.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Interesting story with a startling turn of events in the middle. A lot here about gender, as is common in Perry's books, but this one is particularly interesting. I've read many Monk mysteries and this is one of my favorites.